By Nathan Hunt, Director of Sustainability, UWCSEA
This year's East Campus Family Festival made even more progress on its journey to become a UWCSEA Zero-Waste event. Building on previous success, the Green Fingers College Service group expanded operations to oversee the supply and washing up of reusable plates, cups and utensils kindly supplied by Sodexo. The team did an amazing job of making sure everyone had a chance to enjoy the the superb food on offer and were kindly assisted by students from other Global Concerns groups with expert oversight from our local partner, the Tzu Chi Foundation. The organisation runs environmental awareness campaigns and community recycling weekends all over the country and are superb in marshalling large groups of volunteers.
The PA-organised international food stalls all made huge strides in reducing use of plastic and paper disposables too, even publicising their initiatives on the PA East Facebook page in advance. Making their stalls more sustainable took a great deal of work; in addition to all the home-baking so we are especially grateful to all the parents for joining the zero-waste cause...and of course for the tasty delights on offer!
Global Concerns social enterprises were in on the trend too, selling very cool upcycled products, and the new Boomerang Bags College Service group launched their sewing drive to encourage community production of reusable bags. Coconuts were sold with bamboo straws and then composted, and even external providers Churros Republic went zero-waste with their new 'chicken in a cone' idea.
Our Communications department also produced a great e-flyer to encourage fair-goers to bring their own 'Zero-Waste Event Pack' and it was great to see more and more families adopt these BYO practices.
It seems our whole community is eager to join our Zero-Waste initiatives these days. Not only does it reduce consumption and incineration of disposable plastics, but it saves our hard-working Facilities staff hours of unnecessary cleaning and offers our students opportunities to become entrepreneurs in the new Circular Economy.
Thanks to all involved especially the Parents' Association, Green Fingers and the Service Department who spearheaded the drive toward zero-waste. Expect even more next year!